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To progress through the grading system in martial arts one must develop and learn new skills which get assessed at grading. The student then progresses to a new rank to once again start the cycle of developing and learning new skills. There is a constant state of flux and growth as new skills are learnt and challenges faced. Rather than staying comfortable inside the safety zone, when challenges and discomfort appears the martial artist who succeeds says “bring it on!”

Often the path is not just about fighting and violence, although it plays a big part especially in Krav Maga, but rather about achieving what one wants to achieve just because it is possible. To develop skills and overcome the many challenges one must have the intention rather than just desire. Desire is an empty emotion; one may desire to have Krav Maga skills but when committing to regular classes, pressure testing oneself in full-contact drills, attending gradings and seminars maybe travelling to Israel to train at the IKI headquarters without intention this will all fall by the wayside.

Intention is the road map to the goals that one desires, one will find a way to train, to budget both in time and money to achieve those goals. One must develop a tolerance for the challenge, a tolerance for the ambiguity and a love for the discomfort because when we hit the edge of our comfort zone we experience fear, trepidation and more. However, if we really analyse the feelings it is not really fear, or discomfort or pain but rather it is energy.

When I get this feeling I immediately recognize that I am in a period of growth. I do not want to be comfortable because there is no growth there. Instead I opt to travel to Israel to train, to organize seminars and to find more opportunities to teach and train.

How does all of this relate to combat? Well if you ever have to stick up for yourself in a street assault or robbery and you have to initiate an attack, discomfort is the biggest part of it. It is so much easier to capitulate and hope the attacker does not hurt or kill you. What separates the hero from the coward is not the lack of fear but rather the hero would take the discomfort and run with it and the coward will just pull back. It is natural to pull back because of the fight or flight instinct and adrenaline dump, but what I am saying is it is not a red light, it is a green light.

If attacking is the only option it does not matter what the situation may be; whether grabbed, choked, assaulted with empty hand or weapon. After the first move it will all be spontaneous as the adrenaline takes over and the Krav Maga skills kick in. However, the initial move has to be aggressive and it has to be channelled. In Jewish culture there is a word for that, chutzpah.

Every culture has a warrior heritage, however what makes Israel a leading military power and the Jews a warrior nation is the pressure to win at all costs to survive. Just like the fear and discomfort that causes a martial artist to grow but on a much larger scale. Some

in New Zealand say that Israel prevails because of the support from the free world. However, I think many of us deceive ourselves by thinking Israel’s fight is not our fight. If Israel loses its fight against those who reject peace, reject freedom and who rule by the bomb, the human shield and the suicide vest will there ever be peace or survival for the free world?

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